Welcome to the latest edition of non-toxic Tuesday! I just have to start by saying that I've been SO encouraged lately by how many people have told me that they have started making small, non-toxic changes in their lives thanks to this series! If you follow it and have been able to take something away and apply it to your life, please let me know! Sometimes I wonder if I'm writing to the air, so having some feedback means the world :)
A mattress is a pretty basic piece of furniture in any home. And if you have kids, there's a good chance your baby or toddler sleeps on a crib mattress (unless you co-sleep). It's common knowledge that babies and children sleep A LOT. In fact, the average newborn will sleep up to 18 hours a day, and even the average five-year-old will spend about half of each day sleeping, and much of that sleeping is probably done on some sort of mattress (source).
When I had purchased a mattress for my son last year, I did the best I could with what information I had at the time. Knowing what I know now, I would not have purchased the one I did. I do believe that it's better than most conventional crib mattresses, but I've definitely found less-toxic options since buying it. Below are some tips on how to shop for a non-toxic crib mattress!
Avoid Polyurethane Foam
- Polyurethane foam is typically the product used in foam crib mattresses.
- Polyurethane foam is a by-product of crude oil.
- Polyurethane foam is so flammable that the National Association of State Fire Marshals refers to it as “solid gasoline.”
- Because it's so flammable, polyurethane foam requires some serious treatment to meet the flammability standards of California (which have pretty much become the universal standards for products sold in the USA), and this is often accomplished through the use of toxic chemical flame retardants.
- I personally suggest avoiding even "safe" polyurethane foams such as CertiPUR-US foams. This foam is certainly a better option than non-certified, but is definitely not the best.
Avoid Chemical Flame Retardants
- It is possible to meet flammability requirements without the use of toxic flame retardants. Don't be fooled by any person or any company that says otherwise! One of the most non-toxic ways this can be done is through the use of wool.
- It is very important to make sure you fully understand how a manufacturer meets flammability requirements. Just because a company uses wool in its product does not mean it does not ALSO use chemical flame retardants. It can be tricky to get to the bottom of it, but it never hurts to verify with the manufacturer via email (and then keep all correspondence for your records), on the telephone, through other customers, through certifications, etc. I am a little obsessive about this because I don't want to risk misunderstanding or being fooled by fancy talk!
Avoid PVC (AKA Polyvinyl Chloride or Vinyl)
- Crib mattresses are typically covered in some sort of waterproof fabric. Unfortunately, that fabric is often vinyl, which has recently been recognized even my the mainstream as being extremely toxic.
- Organic wool is naturally resistant to moisture and is infinitely better than toxic vinyl for mattress protection.
Avoid Innerspring Mattresses
- This one is more a matter of personal preference, but I chose to purchase a crib mattress that did not contain metal springs for my son and when my husband and I upgrade our mattress, we plan to do the same. Here's why.
Say YES to Latex
- Latex foam is a great alternative to polyurethane foam. You just have to make sure you are purchasing 100% natural rubber latex and not a blend of synthetic and latex. For instance, I was at Ikea recently and was surprised to see that they were selling latex mattresses. Just a minute of searching revealed that their mattresses are 85% natural and 15% synthetic which is a no-go.
- The world of latex lingo can be tricky to navigate! I found this article to be helpful, especially when it comes to learning about Dunlop and Talalay latex. (Hint: Talalay is the word that often causes the most confusion because it is used to describe 100% pure latex as well as a latex/synthetic blend.) Manufacturers should be able to provide you with some sort of documentation if they are claiming to use organic fabrics or 100% natural latexes! ASK FOR THEM!!!
Say YES to These Mattresses
- OMI Organic Cotton Latex Crib Mattress (This would be one of my top picks if I were buying another mattress!)
- Lullaby Earth Super Lightweight Crib Mattress (This is a great latex-free and wool-free option for anyone on a budget!)
- Naturepedic Lightweight Series
- The Nook Pebble Pure (I have friends who own this mattress and they have been very happy with it!)
- Organic Footprint Natural Latex Crib Mattress
- Holy Lamb Organics Latex Crib Mattress
- Lifekind Organic Crib Mattress (Pure Rubber)
- The Savvy Baby
- Sleep EZ Latex Crib Mattresses
- A PureRest Latex Mattress
Alternatives To Buying A New Mattresses
- Mattress-wrapping is an inexpensive and extremely effective way to protect your baby if you can't or don't want to invest in a non-toxic mattress right now. You should read the story behind mattress-wrapping if you have a few moments. It will literally blow your mind and break your heart at the same time.
I hope this post is helpful to any parents wanting to help build a non-toxic nursery for their babes! The list of mattresses above is by NO means conclusive and if you find a company that looks promising, please send the name my way! I've tried to examine each company before posting them but do a little research on your own if you want extra security. Feel free to comment or contact me with any questions and I'll try to get back to you ASAP :)